‘Black Knight’ 5-8, Explained: Why Did He Decide To Fight For The Refugees?


The need for vigilantism is proof that established law and order have failed the citizens. When the Korean Peninsula converted to a desert 40 years ago, a few surviving people came forward with the vision of creating a sustainable world and providing for the 1 percent of the population that was left on earth. But they failed in their endeavors, and just like any other regime, they started discriminating against and oppressing a set of people who didn’t deserve to be treated like that. Their intentions might not have been malignant at first, but the plans and the strategies did not materialize the way the so-called leaders and visionaries wanted. The rise of vigilantism in “Black Knight” also told us that no matter what conditions human beings are in, corruption is such an inherent part of their nature that they cannot help but use their influence and powers illegitimately. Vigilance shouldn’t have been necessary for law and order to prevail, but the delivery men residing in the refugee districts realized that if they didn’t take matters into their own hands, justice would never be served.

These deliverymen held secret meetings and resisted every oppressive plan and policy made by the Cheonmyeong group. Social and political violence often puts the downtrodden in a very helpless situation, and they do not understand that if the so-called savior and protector of rights becomes dictatorial in their approach, then who should they resort to in times of need? We don’t know if it would be more apt to term 5-8’s actions a victory of justice and equality or a failure of the established law and order. 5-8 was not an AI, and he, too, had his set of experiences that haunted him and, in a manner, molded his sensibilities and ideologies. He had seen his own family, his community, and his people die in front of his eyes.

I personally believe that his actions were justified because, to make the deaf hear, one has to raise their voice. You have to make an explosion to make the power brokers realize that you exist and that your life matters too. Though a government was in place, the Cheonmyeong conglomerate had a huge say in matters of national importance, and obviously, they always wanted every political move to benefit their cause. Things would have been fine if they hadn’t turned a blind eye to the plight of the refugees and left them to die. Things became even worse in “Black Knight” when Ryu Seok took over the helm of affairs and made it his life’s agenda to exterminate the entire refugee population.

Spoiler Alert

How Did 5-8 Plan To Tackle Ryu Seok?

The relocation plan that Ryu Seok had proposed was never meant to rehabilitate the refugees; in fact, it was meant to commit genocide and wipe them off the face of the earth. 5-8 always knew that the Cheonmyoeng group was up to something, but he didn’t know that they could stoop so low, play such dirty politics, and taint the history of the Korean Peninsula forever. Chairman Ryu might have neglected the refugees, but he was still not as extreme as his fascist son, Ryu Seok. Chairman Ryu wanted his son to take charge of his company and empire after him, but he was unaware of the kind of atrocities he was capable of committing. Ryu Seok was intentionally polluting the air so that there would be a constant demand for oxygen, which the Cheonmyeong group had a monopoly over. Even Major Seol-ah wasn’t able to believe that they were capable of playing with the trust of innocent people in such a manner. There were trucks deployed that purified the air, and when 5-8 and his team of delivery men went and checked, they found out that the trucks were releasing toxins into the air. 5-8 disrupted as many activities of the Cheonmyeong group as he and his covert group members could, but that was never enough. He knew that if he wanted to put an end to discrimination, he would have to kidnap Ryu Seok. Major Seol-ah was not sure about the plan, but after Ryu Seok killed innocent refugees on the day of the grand finale of the delivery man competition, she realized that 5-8 was right in planning the attack directly on the heir of the Cheonmyeong group.

Seol-ah confronted Chairman Ryu and informed him about what was happening. Chairman Ryu might have been somebody who had vouched for the creation of the air core so that the privileged could have better access to basic resources, but his capitalistic instinct still hadn’t taken an oppressive form. He was disappointed in his own son, but by the time he realized what was happening, Ryu Seok was already in control of the entire system. He had bought the loyalties of people sitting in important positions, like the defense minister. Ryu Seok got his father killed and then took matters into his own hands. He publicly displayed the names of 12 deliverymen and included them in the most wanted list. Ryu Seok hid in the core district, believing that 5-8 would never be able to infiltrate it.

Was 5-8 Able To Save The Refugees?

The need to save the refugees would have never arrived if the government had done its job correctly. The government had failed its people, and that is why the common man had to pick up weapons to save humanity. The president might have been vocally in favor of the refugees, but throughout the six episodes of “Black Knight,” she seemed rather powerless. The outlaws wouldn’t have ever come into existence had the president just provided refugees with basic necessities, but they were not able to do that either. The refugees never dreamed of a privileged and swanky lifestyle; they just wanted clean air and food to survive. 5-8 had risen to the occasion, and he was not going to stop unless and until he put an end to the injustice.

Toward the end of “Black Knight,” 5-8, he is able to infiltrate the Core District, and he doesn’t show any mercy when Ryu Seok comes in front of him. 5-8’s actions were not within the legal framework, but he wasn’t left with any other option. The refugees were saved and brought inside the facility where they could get air, water and food, and the president was quick to remove the class-wise division of the districts. Though the situation became stable, it was just a matter of time before another dictator rose to power and started misusing the privileges. There is a high probability that even Ryu Seok is still alive, and if he decides to come back, then in addition to his hatred, 5-8 would also have to be ready for his vengeance. 5-8 was the crusader, created by necessity, who saved the lives of hundreds of refugees, and his already idolized reputation was elevated even more, and vigilantism became the accepted form of justice.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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